The Island View: News from Shoals Marine Laboratory

August 2015
Dear Friends of Shoals Marine Laboratory,
Over the last week, I have been traveling up the coast of Maine to various scientific meetings.  Starting at Hog Island in Muscongus Bay at the Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group, I proudly watched two SML research interns (Johanna Pederson, UNH & Juliana Hanle, Yale) present their summer projects on Seavey Island common tern breeding biology. I write you now from Mount Desert Island, where I am attending the Waterbird Society Meeting. It gives me great pride to represent SML at these meetings! SML's reputation is top-notch, and the scientists I met express great interest in what we do on Appledore, especially our long-term research programs.  Many have been to the island as students, visiting researchers, or guest lecturers and can't wait to share their fond memories. The high level of respect and admiration that SML receives from the scientific community is a feather in our collective cap - all the past directors, staff, faculty, students, supporters over the life of the lab are responsible for this! Let's celebrate this and so much more next summer as we mark 50 years of excellence in marine science education and research! From way Downeast, I want to share some SML news with you!

Successful Funding Raising for Seal Research
S ML is the proud recipient of two successful grant applications this summer to support our Marine Mammal Research Internship Program. The Fuller Foundation and The Fabulous Find Resale Boutique contributed over $10,000K. Theses gifts in combination with funds from the Tuttle Endowment at UNH, helped us provide equipment, stipends, room, and board to two undergraduate research interns ( Anna Alexandrou and Karen Sonnichsen, both form UNH) . Seal research in the Gulf of Maine has never been more important. Just six decades ago, there were very few seals in New England waters. Since the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) was passed, seal populations in the Gulf of Maine have soared into the tens of thousands. This has spurred numerous management challenges for marine policy makers, especially when seals interact with humans and the fishing industry. The data collected by these SML interns is the only annual marine mammal monitoring in the Isle of Shoals and includes  population  counts and health assessments. This program, now in the sixth year, costs $20,000 a year. We are in need of on-going funding and would be incredibly grateful for any support that will enable us to continue this program for many more years to come. Not only does this program increase understanding of these marine mammals that can contribution to wise management, but it also provides top-notch undergraduate research internships - a critical step in our student's progress towards graduate school or the job market. 

Photo: J. Coyer
SML Welcomes Igniting Streams of  Learning in Science
SML recently hosted Igniting Streams of Learning in Science, a program led by Dr. Dennis (Denny) Taylor, a long-time SML faculty member. For six days in early August, Denny and his team of leaders from Hiram College, Kent State University, and Case Western Reserve University introduced thirty Pakistani high school students to marine science. (Many had never been on a boat before!) Featuring intertidal transects and trawling aboard the R/V John M. Kingsbury, Denny expertly led a full array of SML activities. Water conservation was a central focus of the program's environmental awareness message (Pakistan is currently facing a water supply crisis) and Appledore Island was the perfect platform to expose the participants to real-world sustainability efforts. On the final night of the visit, the Pakistani students presented "Cultural Night"! Halal food, traditional Pakistani song and dance - resulting in huge smiles all around. We were sad to see them go, but excited to hear about the positive environmental changes these students will spread half a world away!

Photo: D. Mallett
Another Exciting New Course!
This summer SML added a fabulous new course: Coastal Habitat Research Methods, taught by Dr Gregg Moore (UNH). This intensive field course exposed students to quantitative habitat assessment techniques, such as Geographic Information System (GIS), field mapping, percent cover, transect and quadrant methods, among many others. Focused on the terrestrial plant communities of Appledore Island, students quickly mastered the identification of flora of the island while creating SML's first digital terrestrial habitat map of the island and establishing permanent monitoring sites. Much like SML's well-known intertidal transects, these terrestrial transects will be surveyed each year to monitor habitat stability, detect change, identify rare or invasive species, and inform management. Creating powerful datasets like these provides students with access to useful ecological data sets with which they can explore data patterns and trends to suit their research or professional interests. Dr. Moore designed this course to prepare students for graduate-level research and jobs in environmental assessment. We are happy to report that he will be offering this course again next year!
Photo: J. Coyer
10 years of Sustainable Engineering Internships!
Each summer, four undergraduates in engineering programs across the country spend weeks researching how to improve various aspects of SML's infrastructure and facilities: electrical production, water conservation, energy usage, and more! This unique internship emphasizes the initiatives that SML has pioneered not only to reduce our carbon footprint and operating costs, but also to provide a sustainability model for other communities. Our 2015 SEI interns, Chelsea Kimball (UNH), Dylan Masi (UMass Amherst), Susan McGrattan (Cornell Univ.), and Marisa Zellmer (Tufts Univ.), presented their research on July 25th at the Annual Sustainable Engineering Internship Symposium. SML's newly upgraded green energy grid was this year's highlight. The 'Green Grid' features a 56 kW solar array with panels crowd-funded by dozens of amazing SML alums and supporters! We are very proud of the work our interns accomplished and the critical data they were able to collect. On August 20th, SML will host a Sustainability Celebration with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the newest solar panel array!
Photo: L. Nugent
Come to Appledore in August!!
Do you want to take a summer vacation that combines learning, relaxing, and adventure on a beautiful Maine Island? We got you covered! August on Appledore is spectacular! Don't miss it! Please see the Adult and Family Program page for details!


In closing,
As I island hop my way along the coast of Maine this week, I am reminded of what special places islands are. By their remote and wild nature, islands bring people together and evoke a special sense of place. This is certainly true for anyone who has spent time on SML's Appledore Island. I believe SML creates a very unique and rich sense of place by our dedication to observing and understanding the natural world, while living in a respectful and reverent manner on our fragile island home. When this unique sense of place is coupled with our widely-recognized excellence in marine science education and research, we create life-changing experiences for our students (and us). I hope you are proud of your part in making SML a truly unique, world-class marine field station!
As always, I welcome your valuable input and support to ensure that SML continues to be a vibrant place and extraordinary experience for our students.    
With deep appreciation and warm wishes,
Jennifer Seavey, Ph.D. 
Kingsbury Director of the Shoals Marine Laboratory
Shoals Marine Laboratory
113 Morse Hall, University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824
106A Kennedy Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853, NY

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